Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Medlar, one of our stranger fruits

The fruit is round, one to two inches in diameter looking somewhat like a brown, over-grown rose hip with a calyx on its crown.  The fruit is open at the bottom exposing five seed boxes.  The uniqueness of the fruit comes from the fact that it must be nearly rotten to be edible.  (And now you know why you have never heard of it!)  The process of "ripening" the fruit is referred to as bletting which takes 2 to 3 weeks in storage.  The fruit becomes soft, mushy brown, sweet and tasty with a flavor described as close to cinnamon applesauce.  Medlars are a fruit that can be eaten fresh in the winter.  Poking a hole in the fruit and sucking out the bletted (let's not say rotted) flesh spitting out the smooth seeds is one way to experience the unique taste of Medlar. 
They can also be cooked into jellies and jams as they are high in pectin.  "But it has long been regarded as a dessert fruit for connoisseurs. Prof. Saintsbury in his classic book on wines, "Notes on a Cellar", declared that "the one fruit which seems to me to go best with all wine, from hock to sherry and from claret to port, is the Medlar - an admirable and distinguished thing in itself, and a worthy mate for the best of liquors".
Francesca Greensack in her fascinating book "Forgotten Fruit" said, "the lingering, slightly sweet, slightly winey flavor makes the Medlar seem like a natural comfit". She also mentioned "roasting them with butter and cloves as a traditional winter dessert" and recommends jelly made from them "as an accompaniment to game"."

No comments:

Post a Comment